tv PBS News Hour PBS March 25, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: president obama confirmed today he wants new limits on n.s.a. spying, he'll push congress to stop the intelligence agency's bulk collection of phone records. good evening i'm gwen ifill. >> wooduff: and i'm judy woodruff. also tonight, religious freedom, women's access to birth control and the affordable care act, collide at the supreme court. >> ifill: and as ukraine continues withdrawing it's troops from crimea. margaret warner sits down in kiev with the embattled country's interim prime minister. >> what is happening as russia crosses the border of the main land. this is the duty of every
ukrainian citizen to protect our country. we will fight. >> ifill: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work. >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved, staying engaged. they are not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they
never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> wooduff: the president today firmed up his plan for reining in the national security agency. he wants congress to stop the agency from gathering phone
records and holding them for five years. instead, the n.s.a. could access phone company records if needed, with a court order. mr. obama explained in the netherlands, where he was attending a nuclear security summit. >> i'm confident that it allows us to do what is necessary in order to deal with the dangers of a terrorist attack, but does so in a way that addresses some of the concerns that people had raised. and i'm looking forward to working with congress to make sure we go ahead and pass the enabling legislation quickly, so that we can get on with the business of effective law enforcement. >> wooduff: phone companies hold the so-called meta-data on calls, for 18 months. we'll explore the president's proposal right after the news summary. rain and flash flood warnings have slowed the search effort in the washington state mudslide. the toll in saturday's disaster now stands at 14, but officials warned today it's likely to keep rising.
they also said many of the 176 people listed as missing may actually be alive and well. rough weather at sea forced a day-long delay in the search for that missing malaysian airliner. that came as authorities narrowed the search area in the indian ocean, to a region the size of alaska. they've declared that the plane crashed there, killing all 239 on board. but relatives of the chinese victims angrily rejected that finding today. lucy watson of independent television news reports from beijing. >> reporter: it was a provocative start. as grieving families tired of waiting turned their anguish into action. [screaming] and their banners told a story, mum, it's springtime now, come back it reads. another s, i bought you a
diamond ring. i wanted to put it on your finger. so they p marched to the malaysian embassy in beijing, angry for being told their relatives had died without the wreckage being found. why don't you believe them? >> there might be something found and it was nothing found. they are still searching. >> reporter: this is such a rarity in beijing a public protest bringing the streets a standstill but such is the discontent amongst the family members, they are allowed to do it. corralled by security they delivered a letter demanding answers, answers malaysia is yet to provide. >> we need to honor the
commitment and respect for the relatives. >> reporter: a statement that is accepted by some. the family of rodney and mary burros from queensland. >> their life has been cut short. they he worked hard to reap the rewards of their retirement so they could travel and spend time with friends and family. >> reporter: but emotions in china will still run high with the search delayed by bad weather. the operation may have stalled but their fight carries on. >> wooduff: the u.s. supreme court today heard a major case pitting claims of religious freedom against the new health care law. two private companies, "hobby lobby," and "conestoga wood specialities," objected to being required to cover any birth control that works after conception. the family-owned firms argue that's tantamount to abortion, and violates their religious beliefs. the arguments continued later, outside the court.
>> this abortion pill mandate is an unprecedented intrusion in a private family business where the government dictates at the cost of severe and crippling fines and penalties that people should violate their sincerely held religious beliefs when they decide to make a living. >> what is at stake in this case is whether millions of women and their right to preventive care, including birth control, is trumped by a handful of c.e.o.'s who have their own personal opinions about birth control. women have the right to make their own decisions about their healthcare and their birth control and its not their boss's decision. >> wooduff: we'll have a full report, and talk with marcia coyle, who covers the court, later in the program. the ukrainian military has begun making its move in crimea, exiting a region now firmly in russian hands. their departure comes amid rising fears of what moscow's next move might be. >> wooduff: with bags packed, about 65,000 ukrainian soldiers
and marines chose to leave crimea behind today. >> we will continue to be loyal to ukraine. we serve neither politicians nor the authorities. we serve the people who are around us and who value us. we don't want anything else. >> wooduff: about 12,000 others decided to stay and take their chances in russia's newly annexed peninsula. at a summit in the netherlands, president obama acknowledged russia now controls crimea, but he argued it's really a sign of vulnerability. >> russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength, but weakness. and, you know, we have considerable influence on our neighbors. we generally don't need to invade them in order to have a strong, cooperative relationship with them. >> wooduff: ukraine's parliament today held its acting defense minister responsible for the loss of crimea.
it fired him and appointed a new one. meanwhile, ukraine's military, and n.a.t.o., kept a close watch on the borderland between russia and ukraine. >> we are very much concerned about the russian military build-up along the borders of ukraine. and all n.a.t.o. allies can be assured of our determination to provide effective defense. >> wooduff: the head of ukraine's border service dismissed moscow's explanation that it's all just war games. >> ( translated ): the build-up of the russian federation military force continues. at the beginning they were building up for military exercises, now when the exercises are over they are still at their locations which we clearly see and know. >> wooduff: back at the hague, president obama also voiced concerns that russia might seize more of ukraine. he warned it would be a bad choice. >> wooduff: our chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret
warner is in kiev. later, we'll have her interview today with ukraine's acting prime minister. a new wave of attacks hit cities across iraq today, leaving at least 29 people dead. the worst came around baghdad, where gunmen killed eight soldiers at an army post, and later, a suicide bomber rammed a tanker truck into a security checkpoint. six soldiers died there. the surge of violence in iraq began almost a year ago. in egypt, a court put another 683 suspected islamists on trial, for one day. most were tried in absentia, for murder and attempted murder in last year's attacks on police stations. defense lawyers boycotted, but the judge said he'll issue verdicts in about a month. yesterday, the same judge sentenced 528 suspected islamist defendants to death for murdering a policeman. the mass trials were condemned by the u.n. human rights office in geneva. >> defense lawyers are
complaining about a whole range of things. they weren't able to defend their clients properly. they weren't able to present the briefs. some weren't able to meet their clients. some defendants apparently didn't even have lawyers at all. >> wooduff: the u.s. state department said today it would be unconscionable for egypt to go ahead with the executions. one of the country's busiest seaports has now partially reopened three days after an oil spill. the houston shipping channel closed to traffic saturday when a barge and ship collided, spilling up to 170,000 gallons of heavy oil. clean-up operations are still underway. wall street bounced back from two losing sessions. the dow jones industrial average gained 91 points to close near 16,368. the nasdaq rose almost eight points to close at 4,234. the s-and-p 500 also gained eight points to finish at 1,865. still to come on the "newshour: president obama's push for new limits on government surveillance; the latest on that
devastating mudslide; another challenge to the health care law at the supreme court; ukraine's interim prime minister; plus, protests in egypt, as islamists by the hundreds get sentenced to death. >> ifill: we return now to the president's proposal to limit the n.s.a.'s ability to gather telephone information on americans. as intelligence agencies and congress prepare to debate that balance between privacy and security, we turn to: gary schmitt, staff director of the senate intelligence committee and executive director of the president's foreign intelligence advisory board under ronald reagan... and kate martin director of the center for national security studies, a civil liberties advocacy group. how big a concession was it for the president? we'll hear the details later this week, no doubt, kate martin
to decide to rein in this bulk collection program? >> it's a significant step. it's the president saying to his intelligence community, you haven't made the case that you need this authority and i'm going to limit it. so it's an important recognition. you know, he did it after who separate -- two separate outside reviews which said that this particular authority wasn't needed and hadn't actually been effective in doing anything. >> ifill: gary schmitt a significant step or going too far? >> definitely a significant step. when the president made his speech a month or so ago, he called the program important. he said that nobody had broken any laws and that it was an important tool for counter terrorism. but yet he he has put together a proposal that will make the system for collecting this kind of information a little less flexible and have a little less information to go with. >> ifill: in what way? >> less flexible in a sense that
the procedure now allows the court -- the court gives the general information and the numbers they have -- >> ifill: the intelligence surveillance. >> the court, yes. the result is nsa can check the numbers in the database. the new system will -- if the proposal goes forward the court will approve each of the requests to go forward and they have to go to the telephone companies to get the data. it's not a terrible change but it makes the system less flexible. >> what is important about the change is that at the moment -- or what the n.s.a. has been doing is collecting all of the call records on everyone. and what the president has said is we're not going to do that anymore. instead, the government has a phone number that it suspects is involved with a terrorist orgs and it will get -- organization
and it will get the phonecall records of people involved with that phone number and maybe one hop out. >> ifill: the way it's been proposed so far, who gets to hold this information and for how long? >> the companies will hold this information. it's not as though the information is not retained. there's a difference the n.s.a. retains this data for five years. and the telephone companies typically keep it no longer than 18 months. it's one of the things i was talking about, lack of depth, it's harder to pursue numbers over time. >> ifill: does it hamstring the government's ability a bit? >> yes, i'm sure. some of the numbers go back a number of years. you want to know about those things. is it a scripelling thing, probable -- is it a crippling thing? probably not with you it's a change. >> what is the important about the change. the phone companies holding the data -- they have data on their customers, right, but what the
review group that the president set up said was that the n.s.a. having this massive database on american phonecalls posed risks to democratic governments which were not necessary or justified by any national security benefit from that kind of database. so the president said we're not going to have that database anymore. >> ifill: he meant that he didn't conceive if it was legal or not. was it legal in your opinion? >> the president said it was legal and he said there was no evidence of misuse of this authority. in a sense, we're fixing a flat tire that hasn't gone flat. >> well, it is true that the president believes it's legal. it's legality is under attack -- under challenge. >> ifill: do you believe it's legal? >> no, i don't think they have the authority. we're filing, along with lots of other groups, to say that they don't have the authority. what the president -- the way the president describes it is ie can do it but should we do it?
i don't think they can do it under the law. >> ifill: there's a suspicion standard. the line which you can cross to decide whether it's information you are getting and retaining. it's not quite clear yet where that line is. where should it be? >> i think a couple things going on. the administration and the intelligence community couldn't show it was critical information. they could just show it was important information. you have the specter of the government retaining the data and people were suspicious. that's where you are seeing the president respond as well as members of congress. that said, again, in the absence of anybody showing that somebody was being untowardly used and the courts have routinely said this program was constitutional, it's kind of an odd thing that we're going through this exercise to fix something that frankly wasn't broken. >> ifill: going through this exercise -- >> well, the only court, the court that looked at it from the outside said it was constitutional but the fiesa
court said -- fisa court said it was constitutional. we're looking at it because when the program was brought to the light of day, the american people said to the president, why would we have the national security agency keep a database of every single phonecall made by every single american. >> ifill: you are saying legality aside it just didn't smell right? >> that's right. and then it wasn't that it was helpful. there was no evidence it was helpful in stopping any terrorist attack. there's ample historical precedent for a government misusing massive databases on its citizens, and i think that's what the president recognized. >> ifill: go ahead. you wanted to respond. >> a couple things. on the misuse. the way the intelligence committee is set up to with the senate oversight committee and
the justice oversight and court oversight the idea that could you have a massive misuse for wrongdoing of this data is wrong. that happened in the past but the committees under which it operates makes it unlikely you could misuse the data in that fashion. >> ifill: briefly, going forward is there a chance it's going to go anywhere? is there a movement by congress that will make this move? is there agreement? >> the president says he wants a bill from congress which he needs to make the changes he is talking about according to him. there is, at the moment, bipartisan bills in both the senate and in the house which would make these changes. there's maybe a majority of house members who support making these changes. >> ifill: what do you think? >> i don't think that consensus exists. unless the president gets really behind this bill, i think he's going to have a hard time passing it.
>> ifill: thank you both. >> thank you. >> wooduff: in washington state this evening, there are no new leads being reported yet in the search for victims or survivors of that enormous mudslide. authorities believe the death toll is likely to change before the day is out. so far, at least 14 people are confirmed dead, and possibly as many as 176 unaccounted for. the search continues in the small town of oso. jeffrey brown has the latest on the difficulties of the rescue effort. >> brown: the search teams labored on, four days after disaster struck and with rain likely to make their job that much tougher. coupled with the difficulty is the fading hope of finding any more survivors. but amid the muck, the local fire chief insisted today they're not giving up. >> rescue or recovery, we're doing both.
and that's not gonna change the pace at what we're working here, whether we call it rescue or recovery. we're still in rescue mode in my mind and we are throwing everything that we have at this >> brown: many families, though, fear the worst. rae smith's daughter is still among the missing. >> my daughter, my 16 year old, my adult son and his two young sons were down there digging with their hands trying to find her trying to find any sign of her. >> brown: as the search continues, questions have arisen on whether the disaster might have been foreseen. "the seattle times" reports a scientist warned in 1999 of "the potential for a large catastrophic failure." >> brown: still, officials stressed today a slide of this magnitude is hard to predict. john pennington is emergency management director for snohomish county. >> there's been warnings and advanced notifications of the high risk for landslides. we've done everything we could. my heart goes out to all of these individuals. we're gonna get to the bottom of this. >> brown: officials have no
estimate of how long it will take to get to the bottom of all the mud, only the near certainty that the death count will keep rising. and for the latest from washington, i'm joined by akiko fujita who has been covering the story for abc news. thanks for joining us. tell us more about the problems they are having with this rescue. it remains a dangerous scene there, right? >> reporter: that's the right. the biggest concern is the weather. it's raining again today. yesterday there was a break from the rain for the search crews. they were able to recover more bodies but the concern is that you are dealing with a rain that is so saturated. officials keep using that word quicksand. it's like quicksand when they are out there. with more rain and heavy rainfall expected later in the week they've had to pull back crews at times because they are worried about their safety as well. that has been the biggest heard until getting to -- hurdle in getting to any poe potential survivors and identifying victim
as well. >> brown: how many people are involved in the effort at any given time and how are they dealing with the quicksand situations? >> there's more than 200 crews on the ground now. the national guard is involved. state search teams, we've got search dogs on the ground. local volunteers. you know, they are out there using heat -- thermal devices. they've also using cell phones. when you look at this area, some of the mud is 15 feet deep. it's made it difficult for them to even get into that area. that's where the helicopters have helped them in the search but keep in mind, these crews have not found any survivors since saturday when the disaster hit. i think with every day that goes by, the reality, you know, is starting to look grim. >> brown: do you get the sense from officials that this is in fact no longer a rescue situation? that it really is a sense that people are very unlikely to be
alive at this point? >> reporter: they haven't come out and said that. i think they've been very upfront in saying, look, it's been three days, we understand the reality. but there are more than 170 people on the list of -- names of people unaccounted for. they don't want to call it a recovery only mission just yet because families are waiting to hear from their loved ones or what happened to them. >> brown: the number, 170 they said it's probably well larger than the possible bodies. explain how they are accounting for that number. >> reporter: that's right. you know, they made it clear that there may be duplicates on that list. but what they've done since yesterday. on sunday it was 20 people missing and then it jumped on monday. what they said is that they just want people to know what they are doing. they are asking people to call in for anybody missing. they are giving descriptions in some cases. in some cases it's a family
member with all the information there. they are compiling a
list and putting it out to the public so they are aware. the public is aware about what officials are dealing with. >> brown: what about family members? have you been able to talk to any of them? are they holding out hope? resigned? what is the attitude there? >> reporter: i think it depends on what you speak with. there's increasing frustration among some family members. the concern that they think the rescue effort is too slow. we have heard of family members who have gone out on their own and dig through the mud to find signs of life. others just holding out hope knowing that crews are out there, more than 200 people searching for their loved ones. can i tell us from trace is growing because they don't know what happened. >> brown: let me ask you finally briefly, officials are not giving a timeline for this. is there any sense? are we talking days, weeks, even longer? >> reporter: they haven't given any sense ever a timeline.
at this point they are going to continue to search. again, like i said earlier with them not wanting to call this a recovery effort, they are not giving up hope here. the head of emergency management said he believed in miracles. that gives you a sense. they know top find anybody throughout would -- to find anybody would be a miracle but they are moving forward with the intent to continue until every single person is accounted for. >> brown: akiko fujita of abc news, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> wooduff: the hotly debated issues of contraception, religious freedom, and the president's health-care law took center stage today at the u.s. supreme court. we start with a look at the people involved in the case. it comes from tim o'brien, who filed this report for the pbs program, religion and ethics news weekly.
>> reporter: the challenge at the furniture company in east erl, pennsylvania and by hobby lobby a national chain of craft stores with some 28,000 employees. both companies are run by devoutly religious families who say requiring them to include certain contraceptives in the health insurance violates their religious convictions. the obamacare contraceptionman date requires companies to provide coverage for 20 government approved methods of contraception. the plaintiffs object to only four of them such as the morning after pill. >> this say issue of life that we cannot -- this is an issue of like and we cannot be in a part of taking life. to be in a situation that the government is telling us we have to be is incredible. >> there's no way we're taking anybody's rights away. it's our rights infringed upon to require us to do something against our conscience.
>> reporter: the supreme court will not be writing on a blank slaivment they'll be drawing on two of the most controversial decisions in recent memory. in 1990 the court ruled native american indians could be punished for ingesting peyote even though it was part of the religious ritual and more importantly the laws that amy to everyone do not have to make exceptions for religion. that prompted congress to prompt the religious freedom information act. president clinton signed it into law in a lavish ceremony after it passed the house and sailed through the senate 97-3. that law is at the heart of this week's supreme court cases. it states that the federal government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion unless it is the least restricted means of furthering a compelling government interest. hobby lobby tapped paul clement. >> it may seem like there's
something odd about a corporation exercising religion. a lot of people are familiar with chick-fil-a. if you try to get a sandwich on a sunday you have a problem because they are closed on sunday. >> reporter: the contraception mandate makes exceptions for churches and religious corporations. there's a grandfather provision exempting many other plans and the law doesn't even apply to companies with fewer than 50 employees. that adds up to millions of american workers exempt. so many, in fact, says clement that all the exemptions undermine any claim that the mandate furthers a compelling government interest as the law requires. >> we've never had a law exactly like that this the government tells me i have to pay for somebody else's abortizations or contraceptions. i think the government has recognized we're talking about abortion and contraception, you are treading on religiously sensitive topics. >> reporter: the contraception mandate was drawn up by the
department of health and human services and follows a report from the institute of medicine, a nonprofit division of national academy of science. the institute concluded that contraceptived help reduce unwanted pregnancies which reduces the number of abortions but many women do not have the resources to buy the couldn't contraceptives they need or those most effective. >> we know unintended pregnancies are quite prevalent in the united states, several million a year. we know 40% of those end up in abortion. there's also evidence that the more you provide family planning, the less abortions there are. >> while hobby lobby may have the support of religions in the u.s. the health care community has rallied behind the government and contraception mandate. the good marker institute a national and international champion for women's health and reproductive freedom tapped another heavyweight to make its
case. the solicitor general in the clinton administration says even if hobby lobby is a person at all under the law, it's claim to religious freedom is weak. >> even assuming that corporations can assert rights under the religion clauses or the religious freedom restoration act, a corporation is very unlikely ever to be able to establish a claim that it has a conscience that is being violated or overridden. there isn't a tradition of a for profit corporation having a soul or being faced with damnation. >> the compelling governmental interest here is that companies not be allowed to impose their religious views on their own employees in a way that substantially burdens the employee's right to make her own decision about whether or not she wishes to use contraception.
>> reporter: the implications of rule cog be enormous defining what laws a person or corporation may challenge under religious ground grounds and under what circumstances policy could override the rights of individuals. >> woodruff: marcia coil was in the courtroom and she's back with us tonight. thanks jody. marcia tell us how it went inside the courtroom with this. starting off with the arguments made by the lawyers representing these two companies. >> okay. it was a great argument, judy. it was 90 minutes but really felt like 30 because we had two really good lawyers arguing the case. a lot of questions from the justices. the arguments focused primarily on the religious freedom restoration act which is commonly called rfra. there are four parts of act the
arguments center on. one: are corporations a person able to exercise religious rights? two, what is the government requirement of contraception coverage, is it a substantial burden on the corporations and owners? does the government have a compelling interest in providing or mandating that zmonch -- coverage? and has it chosen the right means? mr. clement was questioned rigorously with justice sotomayor. can a corporation exercise religious rights and how does it do? he said yes, it does and he pointed to the fact that a person, as defined by congress in what is called the dictionary act includes corporations. courts, he said, are able to determine whether corporation religious beliefs are sincere just what they determine every
day what a intent or motivation is in other cases. another came back to say it's just the sort of excessive entangment of government and religion the government tries to avoid. >> it was notable the other two women justices were behind many of the cases at the phase. justice ginsburg and sotomayor. >> justice kagan talked about the slippery slope here. if it's true they can bring the claims is your argument limited to sensitive issues or materials like contraceptives. justice sotomayor said what about religious groups that don't believe in transfusions and vaccinations. mr. clement responded, well it depends on the burden placed on the person with the religious
belief and as well as the government having a compelling interest in imposing that burden but there's no compelling interest in this particular case. >> woodruff: how unusual is it to have three women justices coming at an argument like this? >> it's not unusual because justices sotomayor and kagan are active questioners. sotomayor is often the first questioner in any argument. clearly they were ready and primed to go to the heart of the concerns raised about the issues in this particular case woonch tell us how the other -- >> woodruff: tell us how the other side came at this. the government and -- >> the solicitor general of the united states told the court that corporations don't exercise religious rights. they are not persons under rfra. he said that no court and they case has ever -- and no case has ever held that they exercise religious rights. justice scalia interjected
there's no case that says they haven't. but he did point to a case involving an amish employer who wanted to opt out of social security and the u.s. supreme court said they could not. he tried very hard to bring the argument back to the other parties effected in this case. it's not just the employer, he said, it's the burden on third parties, the workers. and justice kennedy did interject at one point, what about employees who don't share the religious beliefs or the owners of corporations? does religion trump those employees? >> woodruff: vigorous questions from the more conservative members? >> they trained almost all of their questions on the government's attorney. >> woodruff: what did you find memorable about that? >> i think they seemed hostile to the government's arguments. although, i never predict. it was clear that the chief
justice, for example, asked the ques he said the excessive entanglement of government and religion may be able to be avoided here by saying corporations closely held s-type corporations can bring these claims and will await another day when a publicly held corporation like exxon tries to bring a claim, which he said, i don't think will happen. >> woodruff: marcia there's analysis that justice kennedy could be the swing vote here. is it too early to say that? how did you read that? it's not too early. he often is the determining vote in cases where they are closely divided. they appear closely divide here. his questions during the argument today give some support to each side. he really didn't tip his -- where he was headed. he didn't tip his hand in the argument. we'll have to wait and see what he does with it. >> woodruff: what about the
comment we heard at the end of tim o'brien's report that what the justices is a could you have broader implications for how corporations are seen and some of the other things? >> it absolutely could. you have to wait to see how they write their decision however they write it narrowly and broadly and who wins. there's a concern that corporations will be able to bring other kinds of claims trying to opt out of other legal requirements and some of the suggestions were, you know, are we going to see them trying to opt out of say our discrimination laws? and so it really does depend on how the court writes the opinion. >> woodruff: not a dull day at the supreme court. never is. >> one other thing judy i forget to say you can read the transcript of argument on the supreme court web site right now. you can listen to the audio on friday on the web site. >> woodruff: you can do it right at the end of the
newshour. marcia coyle, thanks. >> my pleasure. >> ifill: now, our exclusive interview with the interim prime minister of ukraine. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner sat down with arseniy yatsenyuk this afternoon in kiev. >> warner: prime minister, thank you so much for having us. >> my pleasure. >> warner: you have pager russian forces on your boarder. are you prepared to let them cross? >> what we did in crimea, we refrained from use of force in order to prevent the bloodshed. in order to show to the entire world that the russian military and russian regime who occupied the ukrainian territory. the security council 14 out of 15 actually supported ukrainian
ind pns. on the question you raised what happens if russia crosses the border of mainland this ziewty of every ukrainian citizen to protect our country. we will fight. >> warner: is your military up to the job? >> my military was deliberately dismantled by the former government. and what we are doing today is we tried to maintain a capability of ukrainian military to fight. we made the number of steps in order to prepare the military to defend ukrainian territory. but in any case what we need, we need support from the inters national community, we need der international community, we need support to mod concernize the military and be ready not just to fight but be ready to win. >> warner: what do you need in way of military assistance right
now from the u.s., from nato, from the rest that you are not getting? >> you probably do remember this so called notorious biewd pest memorandum. >> warner: of 1984. >> absolutely when ukraine relink wined the nuclear weapon. at the time we had the third biggest nuclear arsenal in the world. they were given that find the biewd pest treaty and guaranteed ukrainian independence. one of key signatures -- significant in a -- russia violated the deal. we ask our partners to undertake real steps in order to support ukrainian independence. and independence and military strength is so toughly
correlated in this world. i'm not sure i can go into details on this particular issue but we started to dialect with the american partners and with the uk government how to support ukraine to defend its independence. >> warner: do you feel betrayed by the u.s. which did sign that 1994 memorandum. do you think that the u.s. and nato owe ukraine more? >> i do believe that every g-7 member also looked to the world. -- owes it to the world. it's not about the ukrainian case. it's about the global security which is heavily undermined by russia and russia actually undermined the nuclear nonproliferation program as we gave up our nuclear weapons and didn't get anything instead. we got russian tanks artillery and barrels.
on the u.s., i truly appreciate the u.s. support. the house, the senate and personally president obama made bold and strong steps. is it enough to secure the world? it's a good step. forward. >> warner: president obama said today in the hague again that essentially the u.s. and eu are counting on the threat of more sanctions to restrain president putin from further moves. what level of confidence, if any, do you have that that would be effective? >> we have just two options on the table how to tackle this kind of crisis. the first one say military option. it's crystal clear that no one wants another third world war in the globe. the second option is to
implement another type of mon military measures. this is so interrelated and interdepartment that economic measures measures are much stronger than military ones. >> warner: these are long-term measures. don't you think of a short-term measures? >> that we face. it's up to us to defeat them. in case it happens, i believe we'll get additional support from our partners and the international community. >> warner: you mean if russia invades? >> right. >> warner: meanwhile your big port fellow here is to respond to the demands to get the economy off its back and revamp it and retool it. how much does this threat from russia also undermine the prospects of that and the ability to tackle that? >> russia has two options, too. the first one is to invade
military and undermine iew crane stability. we need to do this. we need to undertake tough reforms in order to survive. and in order to get the imf loan and international support from the world bank and international money to refund the investment bank. they'll play with this saying the so called government imposed a number of hardships for you and look at your living standards. they are going down. in case if you go to russia you are going be in another world which looks like a real happy world with free cash with high living standards. we're already prepared for this. what we rely on, we rely on ukrainian people that after we started to be the ukrainian nation this, is the process of
nation building. ukrainians are ready to face these troubles and they are ready to overcome them. >> warner: how are you going to keep the ukrainian public with you? once you start instituting the measures, especially cutting back energy sub side i dives by all of the things you just talked about? >> we had to do it 20 years ago. and now, how can you get the support? it seems to me the key problem of ever politics is a lack of -- every politics is say lack of trust and lack of honesty. i want to deliver a real changes in this country. and in order to get these changes, i have to be open, frank, honest and in this case people will support or approve or didn't approve this measures. >> warner: do you think that the russian pressure has in any
way effected your ability to do that or perhaps even made the public more willing or ready to support the government? >> i believe that in a few years, we will decorate russian regime with a special medal for the unity of my country. >> warner: really? >> yeah. >> warner: you have met vladmir putin a few times. had you do you read him? what do you think his intentions are? >> his intentions is very clear to reinstate the soviet union. to become not the president of russian fed rition but an -- federation but an emperor ever ussr versus 200. >> warner: do you think ukraine and russia can ever have a normal relationship they've had for the last 20 years as long as putin is president?
>> it depends whether russia is ready to negotiate and whether russia is ready to have a level playing field in our relations. it's clear for me that they are not ready. we extended the hand for negotiations and instead, they extended a barrel of a gun. >> warner: mr. prime minister, thank you. >> thank you. >> warner: thank you very much. good luck to you. >> you, too. >> ifill: during her reporting trip, margaret and newshour producer morgan till visited former president viktor yanukovych's lavish home outside of kiev. you can see the opulent estate, complete with a panoramic view of a multi-million dollar staircase, in their online photo gallery. that's on the rundown. >> wooduff: finally tonight, the continuing crackdown in egypt, this time in the courts.
638 suspected islamists stood trial today on charges of murder or attempted murder during attacks on police stations back in august. no defense lawyers were present. yesterday, in a similar scene, more than 500 suspected supporters of the muslim brotherhood were sentenced to death. we explore these developments with former state department middle east specialist, michele dunne. she's now at the carnegie endowment for international peace. welcome back to the newshour. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: what were the charges that the court said these people were guilty of? >> they said they were guilty of rioting that led to the death of one single police officer and they convicted more than 500c4,
initiative of a particular judge or whether it was kind of an instruction from higher up in the egyptian government. i would say there's a series of steps that have attempted to close down dissent in egypt. would you recall there was a violent breakup of a sit in this kay row in which hundreds and hundreds were killed. they pass aid law outlawing
demonstrations. they declared the muslim brotherhood a terrorist organization and said anyone who goes tout demonstrate in farv of morsi could be sentenced to 500 years in prison for a demonstration. there's been a number of harr. sentencing. a group of students at a university were given more than 14 years for destroying some university officers in which no one was killed. >> woodruff: what -- >> woodruff: what effect is this having in egypt? >>s >>s did dissent. there's weekly protests protesting the removal of morsi. >> woodruff: the former president? >> exactly. there's terrorism. there's terrorist groups attack police officers and military officers and there are also a lot of small scale what i would call revenge attacks on police officers, just someone on a mor cycle shooting.
in egypt nowadays there's almost a police officer killed every day. >> woodruff: but if you participate in some of these -- basically what the courts are saying is we're going to come down hard on you? >> yes, absolutely. i think they are so the of waiting to see whether the -- sort of waiting to see whether these harsh sentences will stick. there was an outcry in the international community. in egypt, i think the sentiment about sentencing these hundreds of people to death is much more mixed. there's supporters of military who want to see the muslim brotherhood eradicated and they spoke up in favor of sentences. >> woodruff: is it believed that the courts are going to carry out these sentences? >> there's a possibility of appeal and then the highest -- the religious leader has an ability to review the sentences. there's a couple of possibilities that they could be overturned or lessons. >> woodruff: michele dunne we
thank you very much. >> thanks, judy. >> ifill: again, the other major developments of the day. president obama confirmed he'll ask congress to stop the national security agency from gathering phone records and holding them for five years. rain and flash flood warnings slowed the search in the washington state mudslide, with 14 confirmed dead so far. and reports from south korea said north korea fired two mid- range ballistic missiles early wednesday into the sea of japan. that's despite a u.n. ban on such launches. >> wooduff: on the newshour online right now, how do health care plans in the marketplace, exchanges, differ from others? we have that answer and more, from kaiser health news, as they count down to monday's sign-up deadline. read the report on our health page. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight.
on wednesday, judy talks to former president jimmy carter. i'm gwen ifill. >> wooduff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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